Names in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

826 Words4 Pages
One of the leaders and important man of the town is Mr. Summers. Summer is a season of the year. It is the season of growing, the season of life. His name represents partly the old pagan fertility ritual because the harvest that is being sacrificed to is being grown in the summer. This is supposedly, according to Old Man Warner, what the lottery held each year was all about. But, in this case, the harvest should be fine because the setting of the story tells us that “the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (74). Mr. Summers did many things to slowly ween the old tradition, the old harshness, out of the ordeal. He had the wooden chips replaced with more convienent slips of paper. He also “spoke frequently...about making a new box” (75), so, therefore, he also represented new ideas as well as old. The new ideas that the close-minded village people would not accept. If given the chance, Mr. Summers would have more than likely accepted and backed the motion to cease the lottery and stop the sacrifice. Even though he conducted the lottery which someone was sacrificed (murdered) he is seen as one of the most innocent characters because of his “new” ideas and wishes for something better.

Mr. Summers, with all of his importance, had someone over him though. Mr. Graves, the postmaster, must have been of more importance and power than he because Mr. Summers had to be sworn in by Mr. Graves before he could have the right to be the official of the lottery. As the reader might easily derrive, Mr. Graves symbolizes the sacrificial killing being caused by the lottery. His superiority over Mr. Summers is also symbolic. It shows how the sacrifice and the lottery in itself is more important than the new ideas presented by Mr. Summers and a few other villagers. But, Mr. Graves has many more villagers behind him sharing his views.

One of these is Old Man Warner. Mr. Warner is the oldest man in town and, therefore, having the most knowledge of what the original tradition was all about. He lets us know that there has “always been a lottery” (77). He is repetadly shown “warning” the younger parents and the younger generation of what they are in for if they do away with the lottery.
Get Access